Steamed Spicy Fish with Black Mushrooms and Ham
|Chinese dried black mushrooms||8|
|Fish||3 Pound, and gutted, with head and tail left on (Pompano, Sea Bass, Porgy, Flounder, Or Wall-Eye)|
|Smithfield ham/Prosciutto||1 Ounce, cut into paper-thin slices|
|Kosher salt||2 Teaspoon|
|Chinese rice wine/Dry sherry||2 Tablespoon|
|Light soy sauce||2 Tablespoon|
|Sesame oil||2 Teaspoon|
|Garlic||2 Teaspoon, minced|
|Minced ginger||1 1⁄2 Teaspoon|
|Red pepper flakes||1⁄2 Teaspoon, dried|
|Scallion||3 Tablespoon, thinly sliced|
1) With boiling water, cover the mushrooms and allow them to soak for about 30 minutes.
2) From the ham or prosciutto, trim the fat. Mince the fat and reserve about 1 tablespoon of it. Cut the ham into squares measuring about an inch.
3) Wash the fish with water and clean it well, inside and out. Shake off and remove the excess water and pat dry the fish from the inside as well as the outside with paper towels.
4) Hold a knife or cleaver at an angle of 45-degrees, score the fish at 1-inch intervals from neck to tail on both the sides. By following the natural curve of the collar, extend each cut from the dorsal to the ventral sides of the fish (i.e., from the top to the belly). Cut down nearly to the bone.
5) Sprinkle salt evenly all over the inside and outside of the fish. Rub the salt in the score marks very gently.
6) On a heatproof oval platter which is about an inch small than the fish steamer or a large sauté pan, place the fish.
7) In a small bowl, put the wine, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar and stir well to combine. Add the ginger and garlic and stir once again so that all the ingredients have blended well. Pour the mixture all over the fish.
8) In a separate bowl, combine the reserved minced fat, scallion rings and the red pepper flakes. Sprinkle all over the fish.
9) Drain the mushrooms and with scissors, snip off the steams and cut the caps in half. Wash the caps under running cold water to remove any sand.
10) Arrange the ham and mushrooms along the cuts in the fish in a neat pattern. Use plastic wrap to seal the platter.
11) In a large sauté pan or a covered steamer, bring hot water to gushing boil. Ensure that the water does not touch the platter on which the fish will be steamed.
12) Remove the plastic wrap and put the platter with the fish and vegetables on the trivet or the steaming rack. Wait till the steam starts to surge around the fish and bring the heat down to medium-high. Cover the pan and steam the fish for 10 to 15 minutes, depending upon how thick the fish is, or till the flesh at the base of score marks turns white and firm. Ensure that the fish is not overcooked, as the fish will keep cooking from its own heat as well even after it is removed from the heat.
13) In case the fish has been cooked in the steamer, bring the steamer directly to the table after placing it in a tray. Alternatively, lift the fish out of the serving plate and place it on a serving trivet at the table.
14) Serve hot.